Big Deal On Madonna Street director Mario Monicelli’s controversial WWI saga follows the sorry adventures of a couple of reluctant soldiers (Alberto Sordi and Vittorio Gassman) trying to survive in a bombed-out village near the Austrian front. Monicelli aims for potent realism, emphasizing the discomforts of cold, fleas, hunger, and constant fear of death, but also allows for passages of richly human comedy. A major hit in Italy, and an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, La Grande Guerra allows its hapless heroes to discover a kind of nobility as they are overrun by larger-than-life events.

Image courtesy of De Laurentiis/Gray Films / The Kobal Collection.